On That Note: Eric Alterman

Posted on June 27, 2022

On That Note introduces a member of the orchestra. This issue features Eric Alterman, Assistant Principal Cello.

Hometown? New York City.

What year did you join the orchestra, and how long have you been playing music? I joined Eugene Symphony in 2016, but have been playing music since 1992. So a lot has happened in between!

What made you decide to play your instrument? I wanted to start a second instrument after playing piano for about six years. I attempted the flute, but it gave me headaches. I think the deep bassy sound of the cello appealed to me. I always loved the dramatic minor-key piano pieces.

When you’re not playing your instrument(s), what would we most likely find you doing? Maybe getting in some physical activity, which is often a hike, tennis/pickleball game, or yoga class.

If you weren’t a musician what would you be? Let’s go with psychologist.

What is your favorite piece of all time to play and why? Beethoven’s String Quartet Op. 131 in C-sharp minor. Along with being one of my favorite pieces of music, it contains no breaks between movements, and so it requires a special focus and engagement.

If you could meet one composer/musician, who would it be and why? [Legendary cellist] Pablo Casals: his recordings have been very moving and inspirational. Or a beer with Brahms, who seems really hilarious.

Where is your favorite place in Oregon and why? There is a secluded spot in the Coast Range that is magical. I love enormous, ancient trees.

Red, white, stout, hoppy or other? Just no juicy IPAs.

Favorite book/movie you’ve read/seen recently? The Worst Person in the World (recent Swedish film).

What do you think some audience members might find surprising about you? I didn’t really decide to become a professional cellist until I started grad school.

Any interesting pre-performance rituals? I just try to stay relaxed and not arrive at the hall too late.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself. I make really good kimchi.